Full review of the impressive new Mazda CX-3

Full review of the impressive new Mazda CX-3

February 5th, 2017 by Mark Kennedy in Business Around the Region

Mazda CX-3

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.


Mazda CX-3

Mazda CX-3

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

The basics

› What: 2017 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring

› Engine: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder

› Fuel economy: 34 mpg highway, 29 mpg city

› Local dealer: Tim Short Mazda, 6015 International Drive

› Price (as tested): $27,260

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy

Looking for a used or new car?

The Mazda CX-3 is only in its second model year, yet it's maybe the best-designed, best-riding model in the sub-compact crossover segment.

The CX-3 has gained dominance in a corner of the automotive market that didn't even exist a few years ago; although, in truth, these tiny-utes — or as I like to call them, "toots" — are really just raised hatchbacks.

The CX-3, despite its overall design prowess, has only about 12 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seats. So, unless you plan to drop the rear seats and treat it like a two-passenger vehicle, the car's actual "utility" is debatable.

Still, it is undeniably a sweet-driving machine, with light, pinpoint steering, a sport-tuned suspension and a highly refined power-train built around a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Skyactiv engine. Mazda's little four-cylinder motors hum like sewing machines and accelerate briskly.

Mazda now has one of the most complete stables of crossovers of any car-maker. On the other end of the size spectrum, the new Mazda CX-9 is our favorite seven-passenger SUV. Meanwhile, the capable CX-5 hits a happy medium in price and spaciousness. Many buyers will find it to be the Goldilocks choice — "just right."

- Just the facts: The Mazda CX-3 is a four-passenger (five, in a pinch) sub-compact sport utility vehicle. All CX-3s come equipped with a 146-horsepower, four-cylinder engine. The standard transmission is a six-speed automatic.

- Worthwhile option: Add all-wheel drive to the CX-3 for $1250 and you'll get most of your money back when it comes time to trade. Also, you'll gain some peace of mind on those inevitable Chattanooga days when school gets canceled for snow at noon and you have to slip and slide your way across town to fetch your kids.

- It's good for Chattanooga buyers because: We have more than our share of twisting roads — the kind that show off Mazda's special driving dynamics, which are gained through light-weight materials and efficient little engines.

- How much? Our top trim, Grand Touring model has an MSRP of $27,260. That's a bit rich for the segment, but the CX-3 is a high-content vehicle with good resale value. The most basic CX-3 starts at just under $20,000.

- Cool stuff: The interior refinement of the CX-3 is astonishing — easily the equal of several small luxury cross-overs. Parchment leather seats with black suede inserts and burgundy door accents are a knock-out combo.

- We wish for: A heads-up display kit that doesn't involve a flimsy piece of clear plastic.

- While you are looking: Also check out the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Juke and Buick Encore.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com